Sodaro's Stories

January 27, 2016

Grandiose Plans

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 12:30 pm
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I always have the best plans and intentions and goals…and perhaps I am a little too optimistic (although sometimes I think the world in general could use a little more optimism, but I digress).
My publishing plans for 2015 were Broken Trust, Redeeming Trust, and First Down of the Lucky Charms series. I also planned to publish articles about education or writing. Of that list, I made a lot of progress on all of those things, but only Broken Trust made it out into the world…not blaming or making excuses but sometimes plans change because the universe is putting new things in play and we just have to ride the wave and see where we end up when the storm settles.
My publishing plans for 2016 are Redeeming Trust, First Down and Stealing Second (of the Lucky Charms series) [which as a side note means I will get to fill in my book tattoo and get my 4-leaf clover tattoo!!!!] I also plan on making more progress on my nonfiction projects (no tattoo plans at current for those). I am settled now in a comfy place to call home and can start making some progress on the huge pile of debt I am carrying around with me. My teaching job is solid and I am doing all I can to keep that strong. (My part-time teaching is also going well and I will continue that quarter by quarter, as I am able to do so.)
Seasonal Affective and a slight general depression (when I feel all alone or when I feel that the pile of debt is on top of me rather than beside me) have made my December and January productivity slow to a crawl, but I am fighting it and even though it is at a turtle’s pace, I am still putting one foot in front of the other and making what progress I can while also allowing for some much needed healing and regrouping. So I am “behind” in my plans, but I am still fighting the good fight, and I’ll get there. Bet on it.

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January 25, 2016

The Little Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 12:59 pm
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(So the other day, I blogged about the baby author steps I have taken and how one of those steps was to open a checking account for my books and help grow that account paycheck by paycheck)
A happy surprise came from the bank I had opened the account. I got a hand-written card from the woman who had opened my account, welcoming me to the bank, which was nice enough and rare in this digital world. What really gave me the much-needed kick in the author pants was the final part of the note, where she said, “good luck with your book.” Just a little thing that made a huge difference.
The second little thing that made a huge difference was my reader who has recently rediscovered her love for an talent in drawing. While she is “patiently” waiting for Redeeming Trust, she has come up with some ideas for characters for another project she has read. (I put patiently in quotes because I know exactly how close she is to chaining me to my computer until I finish typing the edits.)
And the third little thing that cut through the haze of too many gray skies-days was another friend who told me she was fighting sleep to get farther in Broken Trust…guess I better get Redeeming Trust closer to done…everyone who has read Broken Trust is ready for Ali’s story…one of the best feelings in this author’s world is hearing people like my stories and my characters…I’m not just writing my novels for me anymore — everything changed the day I held the published copy of Whatever You Make of It and I need to fight past my Seasonal Affective and get my books out. Come on, Sodaro…your characters and your readers are counting on you.

January 24, 2016

Sunshine

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 4:59 pm
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So one of the many survey, “what is your theme song” quizzes I took told me that “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves was my theme song, and while the lyrics don’t really apply to me as I am not currently needing to know if someone loves me as I am taking a hiatus from dating until I get some of my mess cleaned up (personal, financial, spiritual), the beat of this song has always got me dancing in my car or cubicle or where ever else I happen to be when the song comes on.
Even more than the beat, I like the metaphorical idea of walking on sunshine (not literal — don’t be silly). I love sunshine. Love It. Love IT. LOVE IT. I love how pretty it is in the sky. I love how pretty it makes the ground. I even forgive it when it’s still cold outside and the sunshine is just a facade, though I miss its warmth, I still love the sunshine. I never complain about its brightness, and if anyone else complains about it, I shush them before the sunshine hears them and runs away.
I struggle this time of year. Not because of the cold. I have a magic purple flannel shirt that I have had since 1992 that keeps me quite cozy. I struggle this time of year, and not even because of the snow. I had a conversation with an attractive man (hey, I am taking a hiatus from dating, I’m not dead…). We had a chat for the duration of our respective oil changes about the absolute beauty of a good snow fall. I just want it to be cold and snowy…with lots and lots of sunshine…and I really struggle when there is no sunshine…like really, REALLY struggle…to write…to get motivated to do anything other than sleep. I write and do the bare minimum, but it is a struggle when there is no sunshine. 

January 19, 2016

Baby steps to big girl author pants

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:55 pm
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One of the goals I have made for myself is to more fully embrace my author life and more proactively go after what I want for that life, while still enjoying and participating fully in my teacher life — having more balance between the two so that I do better in both as they do feed off of and sustain each other (ah…the life of a Gemini).

So one of the baby steps I have taken is to direct my focus on finishing one project (Redeeming Trust) before staring to edit another project (Lucky Charms series, more specifically First Down). As of this blog, and thanks in large part to having yesterday off (thank you Dr. King) I have typed approximately 70% of Redeeming Trust’s edits and hope to have it off to my reader this coming weekend. (Fingers crossed that my teacher life tasks cooperate with that goal).

Another baby step is to have daily interaction with my other projects. There are two which are a light/dark daily journal/blog type of story that focus on one newspaper article (which hey, also makes me read bits of the daily paper, so go me for personal growth). I also have daily reflections and such and my favorite part, which is using the prompts from Monica Wood’s The Pocket Muse to write on whichever of my 42 adult fiction projects that pop into my mind for that day’s prompt (the prompts don’t work as well for children’s book projects or short stories I have started).  This is a good baby step, because even though it seems like a distraction, it helps me to touch base with my other projects and when it gets to be their turn, I have prompts to help with the plot line.

And the final baby step I have done recently is to set up a checking account just for my books…it will get a portion of my teacher paychecks (until of course it grows up and can be self-sustaining).

So…baby steps, but still making forward motion.

January 13, 2016

Michelle Denise Sodaro

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 12:00 pm
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So that’s the joke, right?  You know you’re in trouble or something serious is going on when that middle name comes out. Like, “Better pay attention, because shit just got real”
When I am journalling or talking to myself or just want to reign in the self-diagnosed ADD (Why do shiny things have to be so dang pretty??) I will either whip out the middle name and Michelle Denise Sodaro better get it in gear or I will just call myself by my last name. There will be a “Get things done, Sodaro” and this seems to work quite effectively to get me refocused and back into the present moment. (I have to do a “Pay attention, Sodaro” or “Michelle Denise Sodaro, would you flippin focus for a minute?”) Both have the desired effect and have me at full attention (or as close to full attention as I ever get , anyway.)
Having so many projects in my mind at the same time is always equally a blessing and a cure. Blessing because writer’s block tends to not be able to keep up with all of my projects at the same time (which totally justifies me trying to work on them concurrently, or so I tell myself). Since at any given time, some are in writing phase, editing phase, revising phase, there is always some kind of work to do on something. Curse because I have too many toys out at one time and can’t give my focus to all of them simultaneously. So I am trying to focus and finish one thing at a time. As you can imagine, there is a lot of yelling of “Michelle Denise Sodaro, sit your damn ass down and get to typing those Redeeming Trust edits” and a lot of “Okay, Sodaro, you got this.” Trying to reign myself in and get things accomplished. Get this done, Sodaro.

January 10, 2016

Apples

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 5:55 pm
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So I used to really wonder why on my jar of peanuts it said: MAY contain peanuts, because I thought, well I certainly hope it contains at least a few…I never understood why this note was necessary — and then I developed an allergy to apples.
I love apples. I love the smell of them, the crunch of them, the smooth texture of the peels contrasting with the slightly rough texture of the meat of the apple — I miss them raw, cut up with peanut butter, in a pie, in applesauce, and evidently (as I have started to have to read labels for ingredients) in almost every fruit juice or snack. Finally I understand why my peanuts had the warning label, though I still feel the word “may” is ridiculous.
So as with everything in my life — I naturally want to have a character who has a food allergy (and I think it might be Lilly, in Lucky Charms –the series I will be publishing after Redeeming Trust — you haven’t met her yet, but trust me — she’s adorable. You’re going to love her and hand over your quarters as quickly as JD does).
I also want to express my love loss for apples in a poem. I miss apples more than I miss some ex-boyfriends…which says a lot about either how much I love apples or that some of the choices for people I date need to be reevaluated…probably both, now that I think of it.
I just wish I could have developed an allergy to cupcakes or something unhealthy. Apples, really??? But at least it will add details to a story, so it’s all worth it, right? Sigh…

January 6, 2016

Epiphany

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 12:07 pm
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My calendar has Epiphany written on today’s date, so I figured I might as well write about author epiphanies.
Sometimes it happens with a character’s name or a title (so grateful when these epiphanies happen, by the way — it can be pretty frustrating before they do, let me tell you). I like it better when it happens in first draft…but sometimes it is not until final draft and I am grateful for Find and Replace!!!
Sometimes it is a chapter beginning, which is always a bit of a ‘oh thank God the magic is not gone, my muse has not abandoned me, and all is still right with the world’ feeling. I usually need these epiphanies between chapters 12-20 which are the toughest chapters for me to write and usually where I drop the novel (and also why I have so many different ones started). This is where epiphanies are most needed because they keep me excited about the novel and help me to keep my motivation strong enough to write one more chapter. Then one more and one more and one more. All from one epiphany.
Perhaps one of my favorite epiphanies is when it is time to bring the novel to a close– the dreaded last two chapters (usually last 2-4, to be perfectly honest) and one thing I have learned is this: endings will come when they are good and ready. You can beg them, you can plead with your characters. I have even tried to bribe my muse with pancakes. I have stared at my notebook with its Chapter 38 written on the top of the otherwise blank page. I have switched pens and switched pens again. Cleaned my purple flannel shirt. Gone to a movie. Gone for a drive with all Jeep windows down. Bribed my muse with ice cream. Ultimately I just have to wait it out. It will come — as an epiphany, and usually at 2:00 in the morning…but it will come.

January 3, 2016

Books of 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 11:06 pm

So my book goal for 2015 was 40 books and I only got to 24 (or I got all the way to 24, if you want to do the glass is slightly more than half full idea). Here are the books I read in 2015:
2015 books
1. Public Displays of Affection by Sarah Donovan
(fiction) — Good love story. I felt the bad guys were in the story too late in the game
2. Killing Floor by Lee Child
(fiction) It took a little getting used to the short choppy sentences, but Jack Reacher is worth it to get to know. Want to read more in this series.
3. Joyland by Stephen King (fiction) A different kind of novel from my Idol. Excellent story and characters and I think of it every time I see a ferris wheel
4. Book Launch by Chandler Bolt (nonfiction) Definitely something I need to improve on for my author life.
5. He’s Just Not that Into You by Greg Behrendt & Liz Tuccillo
(nonfiction) What the movie was based on, and just as helpful. I found this to be a good reminder to not chase people. If they want to be in your life, they will find a way to do so.
6. Time to Write by Kelly Stone
(nonfiction) This reiterated the importance of a daily connection with writing
7. Concealed in Death by JD Robb
(fiction) I am so far into this series I want to see it through. Also reminds me what I need to do with a series.
8. Dating Mr. Darcy by Sarah Arthur
(nonfiction) This really made me want to reread Pride and Prejudice
9. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jefferies
(nonfiction) So many reminders of what I need to do to fully embrace my author life
10. 21 things you should give up to be happy by Chris D’Cruz & Alvin Huang
(nonfiction) I have conquered 8 of the 21. A strong start
11. Festive in Death by JD Robb
(fiction) I like how she keeps most of the story fresh (some parts have gotten a little repetitive)
12. Coptown by Karen Slaughter
(fiction) Very intense read. Strong female characters that I just loved.
13. Supercharge your Team by Michael Ignacio
(nonfiction) A beta read for a friend that equated teams and superheroes. Very clever
14. My Shenandoah Love by Jonathan Kieuper
(fiction) a beta read for a friend. Beautiful story. Strong setting. Had me rooting for the protagonist the whole way through
15. Sweet Love by Rachel Hollis (fiction) Main character was adorably awkward. All about following your dreams.
16. Inside by Brenda Novak
(fiction) Devoured this book. Intense and fabulous
17. Art of Work by Jeff Goins
Teaching is my profession. Author is my calling. Working on transitioning from profession to calling
18. Imagine Self-Love by Reba Linker
(nonfiction) I definitely need to work on loving and accepting myself
19. In Seconds – Brenda Novak
(fiction) Very strong second book in series. Loved the continuation of characters
20. In Close – Brenda Novak
(fiction) felt like an after thought. Very loose connection to previous characters
21. Love Yourself like your Life Depends on It by Kamal Ravikant
(nonfiction) Simple but necessary message.
22. Obsession by Debra Webb
(fiction) first in series. Strong female character. Can’t wait to read rest of series
23. Teaching the Boss by Mallory Crown
(fiction) cute love story. Transition of boss from asshole to good guy was too quick
24. Achieve Anything in just One Year by Jason Harvey
(nonfiction) Daily things to adjust life. Good reminders
So 13 fiction 11 nonfiction — not a bad ratio…and since I no longer feel compelled to finish all books I start, these were all enjoyed and learned from (by reader-me and writer-me, respectively).

January 1, 2016

Looking Forward to 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 6:51 pm
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This is going to be my BEST YEAR YET!! (Just like last year, and if not this year, then 2017 is just going to be mind-blowing).
We hear this enough for it to be a bit comical, but the truth is life responds to us: our attitude…our output…so if we go into a year’s start thinking it’s going to be our Best Year Ever, then work toward making that come true — then 2016 will be pretty amazing indeed. (the trick is to maintain that positive energy to keep it amazing).
For me – I want to be peaceful, productive, and positive. These three things (in addition to having a nice alliteration) encompass all of my 2016 Resolutions.
Peaceful: Some of you have been around me when I get all swirly, and no, I don’t even want to be around me when I am swirly, so I don’t blame you for walking away from me…I only wish I could walk away from me too. So since I can’t ever leave me, I had to, instead, learn to de-swirl and to do it as quickly into the swirl as possible for optimal results. I take deep breaths, audibly or mentally list the things I am grateful for, do some pen-to-paper therapy and get back my inner peace for the safety of everyone around me.
Productive — I have got to FINISH things before my very full plate shatters (and with 83 separate projects, that would be one hell of a mess to clean up…all kinds of weird combinations. I picture serial killers walking around messing things up in my romances, education essay topics hanging out in my mysteries, “human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria” (Ghostbusters). So best that I get some of these projects off my plate before I invent a new genre of writing.
Positive — I will never understand people who choose to be negative all the time. Who likes being miserable?  I am not saying be Suzie Sunshine and live with your rose-colored glasses on, avoiding reality…I am just saying, smile once in a while. Find something positive in every day. Be  grateful. Stop getting offended by every little thing. If you don’t like your life…change what you can or at least shut up about it so those of us who like our lives can enjoy them without your negativity oozing all over the place. Watch a funny movie. Hang out with a friend. Take a class. Learn a skill. DO something with your life and stop being such a Negative Nancy. Life is much better when you are positive and putting out positive energy (what you give out really does come back).
SO I am going to do these things and keep my self-fulfilling prophecy of 2016 being my best year ever as truth. It’s in my hands to make that happen…so I got this.
Happy New Year

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